Information provided with permission by Equine Guelph
Samantha Hutchings, now 15, has grown up with an appreciation for her outdoor environment, exploring and examining the smallest of critters, collecting/observing snails, worms, caterpillars, and frogs. It was inevitable that she would discover the world of horses. She had her first introduction to them when she was four and became a regular rider around the age of eight. One of my fondest memories was the first time I washed her barn jacket. She put it on, sniffed it, and gave me heck because I washed it and it didn’t smell like barn anymore. I knew she was hooked.
Sammy has been taking lessons at local area barns. While riding at Beaverwood Farms, she was exposed to the show world and enjoyed many competitions, which included the thrill of showing at the Royal Winter Fair. This past year, riding a friend’s horse, Sammy was a part of the Caledon Pony Club where she learned more about barn management, horse care, and was able to broaden her riding experience.
The first stable Sammy built was in collaboration with her friend Ashley Boily. During the hot days of summer in 2010, Sammy and Ashley would hang out in the cool basement. They are both riders and their love for horses soon took over their play. They spent many hours together building a cardboard stable. They were very proud of it, and Sammy wanted to enter it in the Erin Fall Fair. At the time, there was no category for stables so they put it into a General Children’s craft class – any craft not from a kit.
Bridget Ryan, who coordinates the Equine Tent at the Erin Fall Fair, scooped it up and put it on display with its second place ribbon in the Equine Tent.
Each year since, Sammy has been motivated to make a better barn. In 2011, with help from her dad, they made a wood one. Sammy drew up the floor plans, her dad cut the wood, the two of them put it together, and then Sammy painted it. As the theme for that year was Barns, there was a category for this in the wood working section. They got second.
Sammy was thrilled to hear in 2012 that the stable building competition was announced as part of the Equine Tent. She drew up the floor plan, and this time got Mom involved in helping her cut foam core to put together a third place stable.
This year, her plan was to make an amazing old style bank barn inspired by a few things: 1) a few years back, when barns were the theme for the fair, there was an awesome barn on display made with a rock foundation 2) the barn where Sammy has been riding this past year is an older bank barn, where there is ground level access to the upper floor.
Sammy started this year’s barn in mid-summer, designing the floor plan and collecting rocks from our yard. Her dad cut the scrap plywood that she got courtesy of Rona in Erin for her base. The siding had to be aged wood, so we took apart an old lattice we had in the yard. This wood was the perfect thickness, easy to cut, and work with. The wood for the stalls, walls, and removable flooring was found in the scrap bin at Timber Mart in Hillsburgh. All was put together by Sammy with five tubs of industrial glue. Our dining room and living room became a construction zone for about two months. The last week before the Erin Fair was crunch time with her doing the finishing touches on the evening it was entered. Sammy is thrilled with her first place finish and already has big plans for next year’s contest. Thank you to Erin Fall Fair for running this contest and to Equine Guelph for sponsoring the prizes.
Proud Mom, Wendy Hnatuik